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TAX TALK: File Early to Avoid Tax Identity Theft

Posted by Hal Zemel, CPA, J.D., LL.M. on Feb 1, 2016 7:00:00 AM
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Most taxpayers begin thinking about filing their tax returns just before the April 15 filing deadline (this year, April 18). However, you may want to consider filing as early as possible. The IRS has already started to accept returns as of January 19.

How filing early helps
In an increasingly common scam, thieves use a taxpayer’s personal information to file fraudulent tax returns electronically and claim bogus refunds. When the real taxpayers file, the IRS rejects the return as a duplicate filing.

Tax identity theft can cause major headaches and significantly delay legitimate refunds. But if you file first, it will be the thief who’s filing the duplicate return, not you.

If you have already been the victim of tax identity theft, the IRS should have issued you a personal identification number (PIN) that you will need to use to file your tax return.

Another key date
However, you need to wait until you receive all of your W-2s, 1099s, and other tax reporting documents to file. So another key date to be aware of is February 1 — the deadline for employers to issue 2015 W-2s to employees and, generally, for businesses to issue 1099s to recipients of any 2015 interest, dividend or reportable miscellaneous income payments.

An added bonus
Contact me at hzemel@berdonllp.com or your Berdon advisor if you have questions about tax identity theft or would like help filing your 2015 return early. An added bonus of filing early, if you’ll be getting a refund, is enjoying that refund sooner.

Topics: TAX TALK

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